Monday, 29 May 2017

CLG slammed for not reviewing New Homes Bonus

The Communities and Local Government department has been slammed for not assessing the impact of the New Homes Bonus two years into the scheme.

The Public Accounts Committee, tasked with assessing the value for money of government policies, attacked the CLG for not carrying out an evaluation of the policy.

The bonus, which sees the government match the council tax on any new properties for the first six years, was designed to incentivise communities to support development by providing or improving local facilities.

However, CLG has yet to demonstrate the scheme, which will see £7.5 billion either granted or redistributed to councils by 2018/19, is funding homes in areas of housing need.

The PAC report said: ‘We would have expected [CLG] to have planned a systematic evaluation from the outset…

‘[CLG] has yet to demonstrate that the new homes it is funding through this scheme are in areas of housing need and the planned evaluation is now urgent.’

The report said CLG had not started its planned evaluation and does not aim to complete it until Easter next year.

They warned it would be ‘challenging’ to disentangle the impact of the scheme from the effects of help to buy or the empty homes grants programme.

CLG has allocated £950 million in specific grant to fund the scheme up until 2015, with £599 million redistributed from local authority funding to further support the scheme.

Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government Sir Bob Kerslake said: ‘I am disappointed by today’s report and have some significant disagreements with its findings. We have made very clear that our review of the New Homes Bonus is underway and will be completed by Easter 2014 as we have always promised.

‘The whole point of the New Homes Bonus - which the committee fails to recognise - is to recognise housing growth where it occurs, with money going where those homes are needed most. That’s why we’ve committed £1.2billion over five years towards this scheme, which the National Audit Office themselves found has the potential to deliver up to 100,000 additional homes over 10 years.’

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